15 Killer Facts About Predator
Before you “get to da choppa,” how about you take a look at a few fun tidbits we found about Predator, the Arnold Schwarzenegger action classic that was released in theaters 30 years ago today.
1. THE MOVIE WAS ALMOST TITLED HUNTER.
The name wasn't switched to Predator until after production.
2. THE PITCH FOR THE MOVIE NAME-DROPPED SOME RECOGNIZABLE HITS.
In the film's DVD commentary, director John McTiernan shared that the film was pitched as “Rocky meets Alien," but McTiernan saw it more like King Kong: "Bunch of guys go to an island, and go deeper and deeper in, and shazam the thing they’re chasing turns out to be a lot bigger than they thought, and they have to turn around and run away!”
3. THE FILM WAS SHOT ENTIRELY ON LOCATION IN MEXICO.
The fictional jungles of Val Verde are actually locations in Puerto Vallarta and Palenque, Mexico. However, because the Mexican jungle is deciduous, tons of fake leaves had to be added to the trees in order to make the jungle seem lush and inescapable.
4. SHANE BLACK WAS CAST FOR HIS SCRIPT EXPERTISE, NOT HIS ACTING CHOPS.
Shane Black, who plays Hawkins, had previously written the screenplay for Lethal Weapon; he was covertly cast in the film so that he would be available to make on-the-fly and uncredited script changes while on set. Which makes it even more befitting that Black is writing and directing a new version of Predator, which is set to be released in 2018.
5. THE LOOK OF THE COMMANDOS WAS BASED ON THE SGT. ROCK COMICS.
Hawkins can be seen reading a Sgt. Rock comic in the end credits (see above).
6. PREDATOR IS PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER JESSE VENTURA’S FIRST MOVIE.
Jesse Ventura would later serve as the Governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003.
7. “OLD PAINLESS” SHOT BLANKS…
… but was still extremely deadly. The GE M134 Minigun wielded by Ventura’s character didn’t shoot live rounds, but for safety reasons, the cast and crew were required to stand at least 50 feet away when it was fired.
8. THE PREDATOR’S HEAT VISION ISN’T ACTUALLY HEAT VISION.
The filmmakers attempted to use actual heat vision for the Predator, but the specific camera proved impractical for the on-location shoot. Instead, normal footage was made into a negative image in post-production and exaggerated “heat vision” colors were added to create the effect.
9. THE PREDATOR’S GLOWING GREEN BLOOD WAS MADE FROM GLOW STICKS.
The filmmakers originally used an orange substance for the creature’s blood, figuring they would spiff it up with special effects in post-production. But the orange goop looked so bad on camera, they decided they had to make a change. They wound up using the luminescent liquid from the inside of glow sticks, which they bought over the counter.
10. JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME WAS THE ORIGINAL GUY IN THE PREDATOR SUIT.
The “Muscles from Brussels” was reportedly fired from the movie because he complained too much about how uncomfortable the suit was.
11. THE ORIGINAL DESIGN FOR THE PREDATOR WAS SCRAPPED IN THE MIDDLE OF PRODUCTION.
The original suit resembled a lanky, bug-eyed insect, but McTiernan didn't think it was scary enough. He halted production on the entire movie so it could be redesigned. Arnold Schwarzenegger personally tapped effects wizard Stan Winston to revamp the Predator design. Winston had previously designed Schwarzenegger’s famous robot skeleton in The Terminator.
12. THE BREAK IN PRODUCTION WAS A BLESSING IN DISGUISE.
The stop in production to redesign the Predator allowed the filmmakers to edit an hour of the movie together to show to the studio. They liked it so much that they gave the production more money to create bigger action sequences in the last third of the movie once filming picked back up
13. JAMES CAMERON PARTLY INSPIRED THE CREATURE’S NEW DESIGN.
While on a flight during the production of Aliens, Cameron mentioned to Winston (who was sketching ideas for the new Predator) that he’d always wanted to see a monster with mandibles. Winston added the oral appendages to the final drawing of the updated Predator.
14. THE UPDATED PREDATOR SUIT WAS NO PICNIC TO WEAR.
The fully functioning suit weighed upwards of 200 pounds, which was a lot of weight for Kevin Peter Hall, the seven-foot-tall ballet dancer, martial arts expert, and actor they brought on to replace Van Damme.
15. OPTIMUS PRIME AND THE PREDATOR HAVE THE SAME VOICE.
Peter Cullen, who is uncredited in Predator, provided the voice for both.